As the crossover SUV market has grown into a billion-dollar business, it’s hard to remember a time when seeing a car-based four-wheel-drive vehicle was a novelty. But if we jump into our Delorean and tune our flux capacitor for 1996, we can enter a world where Toyota introduced its four-wheel-drive recreational activity vehicle, known as the RAV4 for short, to the United States.
Since the first RAV4 hit the scene, we’ve seen an explosion of crossovers the RAV4 has battled against, like the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage. But for 2023, Toyota offers us an even more versatile, practical and affordable RAV4.
- Best safety rating from IIHS
- Surprisingly Capable Off-Road with TRD Package
- 15 versions available
- Trim: Base, Hybrid, Premium
- Model: RAV4, RAV4 Premier
- Engine/Motor: 2.5-litre Inline-4 Plus electric motors (hybrid versions only)
- Powerful : 203-302-power
- Couple : 165-184 lb-ft
- Transmission: Front or all-wheel drive
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic (petrol) or CVT (hybrid)
- Interval: Up to 42 miles
- Battery: 18.1 kWh battery
- 0-60 MPH in 5.7 seconds with Prime
- Excellent gas mileage for gasoline and hybrid
- Stylish Looks
- Slow power if you don’t go first
- Not the 4Runner level of off-road
- Almost too many choices
2023 Toyota RAV4 Powertrain
As with most cars and trucks these days, things are going from gas to electric, and the ever-evolving RAV4 is no different. In its traditional gas-powered versions, thrust comes through a 2.5-liter, DOHC inline-4 aluminum block and head that produces 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. That power is then channeled through an 8-speed automatic transmission on its way to all four wheels, as intended. But you can also get your RAV4 in front-wheel drive only, although it’s not called a RAV2.
Hybrid versions of the RAV4 use an Atkinson-cycle 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 that produces 177 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque along with additional electric motors to reach a combined net output of 302 horsepower if you opt for the largest Prime hybrid setup. Otherwise, total hybrid power from the regular battery pack reaches a neat 219 horsepower. That power is then channeled through an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT) as opposed to a traditional automatic unit, and then back to all four wheels.
The 2023 Toyota RAV4 has 15 different versions
There are up to 15 different trims available for your RAV4, six being gasoline (LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, TRD Off-Road and Limited), while seven are hybrids (Hybrid LE, Hybrid SE, Hybrid XLE, Hybrid XLE Premium, Hybrid Limited and Hybrid Woodland Edition). There are also two other models available in what Toyota calls the RAV4 Prime lineup. They are both plug-in hybrid models, called SE and XSE. Prime versions use a larger battery and produce more power than the basic battery-operated hybrid versions.
Clearly, with these many variations, there’s essentially a RAV4 for almost every lifestyle imaginable, which is exactly what Toyota wants it to be. Want to go off-road? TRD versions of the RAV4 are surprisingly capable when the asphalt ends. Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive available on gasoline-powered AWD cars can send up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels, as well as the left or right wheel in varying amounts. can help you go places you never dreamed of. Combine this feature with Multi-Terrain Select, which is a drive mode selector that lets you choose between Mud & Sand, Rock & Dirt, Snow or Normal to tell the car how to react with throttle, brakes and steering. driving force when wheel rotation occurs.
All models start with the Toyota New Global Architecture platform which sits on a unified reinforced steel body and uses both Macpherson struts up front and a multi-link rear, tuned specifically for the RAV4 variant on-road or off-road as you choose. Additionally, the same 12.0-inch front and 11.1-inch rear ventilated disc brakes that use an Active Cornering Assist feature to help stabilize braking when cornering are universal for all models. In most cases, these brakes are inside a set of Falken Wildpeak A/T 225/60R-18 tires.
The 2023 Toyota RAV4 can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds!
The performance of the RAV4 has never been its calling card, but it has steadily improved over the years. Go for the RAV4 Prime Hybrid and you can run from 0-60 in just 5.7 seconds. And while that acceleration number is seriously impressive, the RAV4’s most impressive stats come at the pump, where it can run on electricity alone for up to 42 miles, and net you a 41/38 city/highway MPG. economical in any of its hybrid formats, while the gas engine still manages to hold its own with a respectable 27/35 MPG city/highway.
RAV4 interior and technology
Inside, the RAV4 offers a host of options and packages, depending on how much you want to spend. Typically, the lower trims get a usable 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, while the upper end of the spectrum is handled with a 10.5-inch unit. Either way, both are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, include a 4G LTE hotspot, and have optional wireless charging, navigation, and an upgraded JBL stereo system if you want it. wish. There’s also a 12.3-inch multi-information display with an all-digital gauge display to keep the driver up to date with everything they need to know while on the go.
Although the RAV4 still has quite a few plastic parts that reveal the fact that it’s not a Rolls-Royce Cullinan by anyone’s imagination, you can get heated and ventilated power front seats. 8-way with lumbar support, plenty of cubby storage, and up to eight front and rear cup and bottle holders. There’s also a 12-volt auxiliary power outlet in the front as well as in the rear cargo area for blowing up rafts, or powering an electric grill, or anything else you might need to do during a tailgate party or in nature.
Safety Features for the 2023 RAV4
Additionally, Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5 feature suite is also available which helped the RAV4 become an IIHS Safety Pick for 2022. Assist, Auto High Beams and Dynamic Cruise Control. Additionally, the useful Surround View Monitor is available, which gives an animated 360-degree virtual view of the car from above using four cameras located on each side of the vehicle.
Again, with as many trim levels as the RAV4, there’s a wide spread in price range between base and top trims. The base RAV4 gas engine starts at a very reasonable $27,575, while the lowest hybrid price you can get starts at $30,225, and the top-of-the-line Prime model has a base MSRP of 41. $590 and comes with all the optional bells and whistles that are just options. on most lower trim.
The Toyota RAV4 was the best-selling crossover in 2022
The RAV4 will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in just a few years, and like most of us who have reached this milestone, it’s amazing how much time can shape and change us for the better. The RAV4 is a practical and comfortable answer to life’s everyday challenges, for little money, and people have taken notice. There’s a reason RAV4 sales nearly double the next closest SUV in 2022, people love it. Not so long ago, the Toyota RAV4 was just a weird SUV that no one took seriously. Now this little truck-not-truck is the champion of a niche market that other companies have been fighting over for decades. So it seems the greatest recreational activity the RAV4 enjoys is, ironically, winning at the King of the Hill.